Over 150 people were wounded on Friday clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound. It’s the first face-off in the area since the start of Ramadan. Israeli authority said “dozens of masked men” marched into Al-Aqsa setting off fireworks before crowds hurled stones towards the Western Wall which is considered the holiest site where Jews pray.
Witnesses said Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces, who fired rubber-coated bullets and sound grenades.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said 153 people were Hospitalised and “dozens of other injuries” were treated at the scene. Israeli police said at least three officers were hurt.
Around 400 people were arrested, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, a group which supports inmates.
The clashes come after tense weeks of deadly violence as the Jewish festival of Passover and Christian Easter overlap with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Al-Aqsa is Islam’s third-holiest site. Jews refer to it as the Temple Mount, referencing two temples said to have stood there in antiquity.
Last year during Muslim fasting month, clashes that flared in Jerusalem, led to 11 days of devastating conflict between Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
Friday’s riots were unacceptable. The convergence of Passover, Ramadan, and Easter is symbolic of what we have in common. We must not let anyone turn these holy days into a platform for hate, incitement, and violence,Yair Lapid, Israeli Foreign Minister
Analysts say the group wants to keep the conflict alive in the West Bank and in Jerusalem but avoid escalation in the Gaza, with thousands of Gazans’ Israeli work permits at risk.
But told AFP that an “
Assault was made inside the Al-Aqsa mosque. More than 80 young people inside the holy mosque were displaced. Al-Aqsa mosque is a red line.Omar al-Kiswani – Al-Aqsa mosque director
Before Ramadan, Israel and Jordan stepped up talks in an effort to avoid a repeat of last year’s violence.
Israel has poured additional forces into the West Bank and is reinforcing its wall and fence barrier with the West Bank after four deadly attacks in the Jewish state that have mostly killed civilians in the past three weeks.
A total of 14 people have been killed in the attacks since March 22, including a shooting spree in Bnei Brak, an Orthodox Jewish city in greater Tel Aviv.
Some of the attacks in Israel were carried out by Arab citizens of Israel linked to or inspired by the Islamic State group, others by Palestinians, and cheered by militant groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Three Palestinians died Thursday as Israeli forces launched fresh raids into the West Bank flashpoint district of Jenin, a week after a deadly gun attack against a Tel Aviv nightlife district. A fourth died of his wounds on Friday.